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Virology. 1996 Jul 15;221(2):346-50.

Sequence analysis of a highly divergent HIV-1-related lentivirus isolated from a wild captured chimpanzee.

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Innogenetics N.V., Industriepark 7, Gent, Belgium.


Two strains of simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIV) isolated from chimpanzees (SIVCPZ-GAB and SIVCPZ-GAB2) originating from Gabon have previously been genetically characterized and shown to belong phylogenetically to the same lineage as the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). We describe the sequence analysis of a third HIV-1-related virus, SIVCPZ-ANT, isolated from a wild captured chimpanzee originating from Zaire. This virus displayed the same genetic organization as HIV-1 and was found to fall on the same lineage as HIV-1 and SIVCPZ-GAB. Protein sequence identity with SIVCPZ-GAB ranged from 72% (Pol) to 48% (Env) for the structural proteins, while a particularly divergent Vpu was found (only 25% identity to SIVCPZ-GAB). The V3 regions of the SIVCPZ isolates were exceptionally conserved in contrast to the high divergence of V3 among HIV-1 isolates. However, SIVCPZ-ANT did not show a greater degree of sequence similarity with SIVCPZ-GAB than with HIV-1 isolates and represents a quite divergent outgroup of the HIV-1 lineage. Our data suggest multiple introductions of HIV-1 in the human population and shed new light on the origin of the HIV-1 pandemic.

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